CAN ELECTROACUPUNCTURE OR TRANSCUTANEOUS NERVE STIMULATION INFLUENCE COGNITIVE AND EMOTIONAL OUTCOME AFTER STROKE?
Objective: The authors know of no controlled randomized studies on the cognitive effects of acupuncture following stroke. The aim of this study is to assess the effects of acupuncture combined with electroacupuncture and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation on emotional and cognitive functioning.Methods: Five to 10 days after stroke, 54 patients with moderate or severe functional impairment were randomized to 1 of 3 interventions: (i) acupuncture, including electroacupuncture; (ii) sensory stimulation with high-intensity, low-frequency transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation that induced muscle contractions; and (iii) low-intensity (subliminal) high-frequency transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (control group). Twenty treatment sessions were performed over 10 weeks. Outcome measures included cognitive performance and emotional functioning. Measures were obtained prior to any stimulation treatment and at 3 and 12 months.Results: At baseline, groups were comparable with regard to demographic, medical, emotional and functional status. The control group demonstrated lower cognitive performances, but this difference did not remain at 3 or 12 months. There were no treatment effects on emotional status. When pooling treatment groups, there were significant cognitive and emotional improvements.Conclusion: Although patients from all 3 groups demonstrated cognitive and emotional improvements, the present study does not suggest any treatment effects on emotional status or cognitive functioning.
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